I rise to back in the arguments put forward by my crossbench colleagues on these amendments. I too congratulate the government on the hard work they undertook to get these vaping laws to the point that they did when they went to the Senate. I have been loud and encouraging in my support of the government’s actions in stamping out the scourge of vaping for our young people. We’re also aware—incredibly aware—that our professional bodies, like the Australian Public Health Association, VicHealth and so many other professionals associations, are applauding the government on difficult work in stamping out another gateway, another pathway, to addict our young people into an unhealthy habit which has profound impacts on their further lives. It beggars belief, really, that we can do such good work in politics but that it then, ultimately, comes down to the decisions of a small few in the Senate who have the power to change the course of history in a way that has such long-term impacts on our nation.

So I am very disappointed; I didn’t expect to be in the position where I would be voting against something in the House today when it comes to vapes. I’m very disappointed in the argument that was put by the Greens in the Senate, and I also want to commend the member for Kooyong in calling out the National Party in accepting political donations from big tobacco. While we have political donations laws in this country that enable this to happen, and while we have a lack of ethics from a major party in accepting political donations which can influence policy in such a way, then we have a real problem in this country. We have a real problem when it affects the long-term health of our kids. So I thank the member for Kooyong for pointing that out. I do say to the government that it’s deeply disappointing that you have had to compromise in this way.

I also want to acknowledge the concerns of our pharmacists across the nation. We’ve probably talked more about pharmacies in this term of parliament than we have in any other time that I’ve been a member of parliament, so I can understand why they’re very angry about this and why they’re asking questions about why they weren’t consulted and why they’re now shouldering responsibilities when it comes to dispensing—it’s not dispensing, of course, it’s the sale—of vapes. I think that is deeply problematic, and I will be voting against these amendments in the House today. I’m disappointed to be in such a position where I must do that, and I want to put on the record that I voted strongly in favour of the original law that was put to us in the House of Representatives.


I thank the member for Griffith for that contribution to the debate. I agree with him. I do not want to see young people criminalised or been subjected to the criminal justice system. I think one of the problems with what we’re being asked to consider today is that we have a block of amendments. It is difficult to vote for everything when you have problems with elements of these amendments. I want to put on the record that I agree with him, I agree with the Greens’ amendments about ensuring that we do not criminalise people with vapes for personal use; although I still have concerns in regard to the number of nine. I take the minister’s point that he made in regard to the number of vapes and it isn’t nine actual vapes, if we talk about the covering material.

But I just want to say that this is a block of amendments with many implications that take us away from the primary bill that we voted in favour of, and I thank the member for Griffith for his explanation just now.

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